Mainstream mallternative music progresses a little slower than other genres, but it does move forward. That said, it seems a little vexing that we appear to be entering the Summer Of Marilyn Manson. It doesn't hurt that he prefaced this autumnal career resurgence with the highly circulated video for "Heart-Shaped Glasses" (a song complete with Johnny-come-lately angular '80s post-punk guitar), a ham-handed but brilliant marketing stunt featuring footage of Manson boinking his 19-year-old girlfriend, actress Evan Rachel Wood. Nor does it hurt that Manson was always the smartest, most verbose apple in the idiotic and now thankfully defunct world of nü-metal—smack in the middle of an aesthetic spectrum that boasted the "Yo, yo, fuck you lookin' at?" hijinks of Limp Bizkit and Insane Clown Posse at one end, and the more drastic measures of Cradle Of Filth at the other.


Manson's new Eat Me, Drink Me is nothing new. It's a modernized version of Marilyn Manson: heavier guitar, a touch of neo-thrash, and some metalized Bravery-style new-wave pop. The songs are still burdened with silly titles like "Putting Holes In Happiness" and "Mutilation Is The Most Sincere Form of Flattery"—Manson is probably laughing just as hard as you—and there are high doses of a still-developing, ill-defined agenda of L.A. noir, burlesque fashion, O.G. goth rock (45 Grave, Christian Death), autopsy photos, and poor-man's Saw-sequel serial-killer aesthetics.

But the subtle glue holding all this nonsense together also serves as a key contributor to Manson's relative staying power. The continuing trick of adding T. Rex, Alice Cooper, early-'80s Ozzy, and Bowie (think Tin Machine) nuances always felt lost on most true fans, meaning the 14-year-olds trying to piss off their parents. But his frame of reference is one key reason why the media is currently talking more about Marilyn Manson than Fred Durst.